October 7, 2022
Andrew Furey, Premier
PO Box 8700
St. John’s, NL
I call upon your Government to immediately strike the all-party committee on guaranteed basic
income as called for in the unanimously supported NDP private members resolution on November
3, 2021 in the House of Assembly:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House consider truly ending poverty in this
province by urging government to establish an all-party Committee on basic income, with
a mandate to review and make recommendations on: eligibility and minimum income
amounts, interaction with existing income supports, additional poverty reduction
initiatives, cost-benefit analysis, potential models for such a program and a timeline for
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House urge the government ensure this Select
Committee has the resources it needs to conduct its work;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Committee engage federal Members of Parliament
from Newfoundland and Labrador to participate.
On September 29, 2022, at the summit on Basic Income: New Policies for a New World, Minister
Abbott stated that government is very supportive of moving forward on the All-Party Committee
and that it rests with the three party House leaders to get together and put the committee in place.
Minister Abbott further stated that the Liberal Government House Leader is ready to strike the committee. With this in mind, I see no good reason as to why we should not immediately strike
The concept of a Guaranteed Liveable Basic Income is not new and is clearly needed and supported by many anti-poverty groups.
Inflation and the rising cost of necessities, clobbered many families. As one single mother
commented, “I’m a single mom working two jobs barely making ends meet. Soon enough, I’ll have
to choose between eating and paying bills. There should be income support for working people
who can’t make ends meet.” Is it acceptable for people to work multiple jobs just to feed their
families? A panhandler I spoke to several weeks ago informed me she receives $190 of income
support every two weeks, including her dietary supplement. That’s $13.57 a day for food and other
daily necessities. This is simply not enough on which to live.
The Gandalf Group surveyed Canadians and Atlantic Canadians on June 28 to 30, 2021 for the
Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security. By the end of the survey, they found that 65 per
cent of Atlantic Canadians versus 44 per cent of Canadians across the rest of the country supported
a guaranteed basic minimum income floor that would provide a safety net for all Canadians.
Support for this is greater amongst females. The support increases with the older demographic so
ages 75 and older, 84 per cent of that population supports a guaranteed basic income; 86 per cent
of those earning $25,000 or less support some form of guaranteed basic income.
Wage earners, those on income support, renters and homeowners with a mortgage would benefit
from some form of a Guaranteed Basic Liveable Income. PROOF: Food Insecurity Policy
Research’s report on Household Food Insecurity in Canada for 2021 notes that, “About one in
seven households reliant on wages, salaries, or self-employment were food-insecure in 2021.” It
also concluded, that, “Households reliant on social assistance (ie provincial welfare and disability
support programs) had the highest prevalence of food insecurity at 63.1%.”
PROOF further concludes that, “Food insecurity is much more prevalent among households who
rent rather than own their dwelling, with 25.9% of renters affected by some degree of food
insecurity.” Equally concerning, “Female lone-parent households had the highest rate of food
insecurity at 38.1%, followed by male lone-parent households at 20.9% and unattached individuals
living alone at 20.3%.”
For Newfoundland and Labrador, PROOF notes the following statistics:
17.9% of households in NL were food-insecure in 2021, amounting to 90,000 people
4.5% of households in the province (10,000 households) experienced severe food insecurity, meaning members missed meals, reduced food intake, or went days without eating due to a lack of money.
7 in 10 households relying on social assistance in NL as their main source of income (68.8%) were food-insecure.
Almost half of food-insecure households in NL (45.1%) relied on wages, salaries, or self-employment incomes as their main source of income.
1 in 4 children in NL (26.4%) lived a food-insecure household, amounting to 22,000 children.
According to a 2011 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report the lower a person’s income
the more likely that person is to use a greater share of health care resources.
Both the PROOF report and Health Accord NL recognize the relationship between food insecurity
and poverty and its harm to people’s health and the cost to our healthcare system.
The current social support system is not working. A new approach, “new policies,” are needed
sooner rather than later if we are to address these problems. A Guaranteed Liveable Basic Income
is one such policy.
PROOF concludes, “If the incomes of lower income households are not increased in proportion to”
… the rising cost of food and other basic necessities… “(eg through indexation of wages and
benefits upon which theses households depend), we can expect the prevalence of severe food
insecurity to rise.” According to the PROOF report, Quebec has the lowest prevalence of food
insecurity of any province and is the only province indexing its social assistance program and
income benefits to inflation. Indexing will have to be part of any discussion around a Guaranteed
Basic Liveable Income.
Health Accord NL supports the provision of a basic income “- a predictable, reliable and adequate
income either for all households presently living in poverty or for targeted persons living below the
poverty line (eg. persons with disabilities, single parent families, etc)”. In fact two of its 57 Calls
to Action (6.3 and 7.3) speak to the idea:
6.3: Ensure that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have a liveable and predictable basic
income to support their health and well-being, integrated with provincial programming to
improve food security.
7.3: Ensure that the families of children in Newfoundland and Labrador have some form of a liveable and predictable basic income to support their health and well-being, integrated with provincial programming to improve food security and housing security.
This Monday past, at the St. John’s City Council Meeting, Councillors unanimously passed a
motion by Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary “confirming council’s support for the concept of
Guaranteed Livable Income,” and calling upon the province “to establish the all-party committee,
as approved in November, 2021 to thoroughly review the concept of Guaranteed Liveable Basic
Income.” Halifax city council passed an almost identical resolution in June 2022. Prince Edward
Island is now at the threshold of implementing a Basic Income Guarantee.
Our November 2021 private members resolution on the All Party Committee on Guaranteed Basic
Liveable income was the second time we had to bring forward the resolution. Both times they were
passed unanimously by the House of Assembly. The time is now for Government to strike All-
Party Committee and get on with the business of looking after the people of our province.
I await your positive response, and look forward to the establishment of this committee as soon as
James Dinn, MHA St. John’s Centre
CC: Steve Crocker, Minister Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation
John Abbott, Minister Children, Seniors and Social Development
Barry Petten, MHA Conception Bay South, House Leader, Official Opposition